Robotic process automation

What is Robotic Process Automation?

Using technology, RPA automates business processes based on business logic and structured inputs. Using RPA tools, a company can program software to capture and interpret transactions, manipulate data, trigger responses, and communicate with other digital systems. It can be used for many purposes, such as sending an email automatically or deploying thousands of bots in an ERP system. Click Here

To reduce costs and streamline operations, many CIOs are turning to RPA. By automating mundane rules-based business processes, businesses can allow employees to devote more time to serving customers or other tasks of more excellent value. Others view RPA as a temporary solution en route to intelligent Automation (IA), which can be trained to make judgments about future outputs by learning from data and using artificial intelligence (AI).

What are the benefits of RPA?

By using RPA, organizations can reduce staffing costs and eliminate human error. According to intelligent automation specialist Kofax, robots handle tasks that get in the way while human employees focus on what they excel at. Unlike custom software or deep integration with existing systems, bots are typically low-cost and easy to implement. These characteristics are crucial for organizations seeking growth without incurring large expenditures or creating friction among employees.

It is estimated that software robots can increase a team’s productivity by 35% to 50% when properly configured. Robots can accelerate simple, repetitive tasks such as copying and pasting information between business systems by 30% to 50%. As well as improving accuracy, automating such tasks can eliminate human error, such as transposing numbers during data entry.

Additionally, enterprises can enhance their automation efforts by injecting RPA with cognitive technologies such as machine learning, speech recognition, and natural language processing, automating higher-order tasks previously performed by humans. Up to 20 steps may be automated in an RPA implementation, part of an intelligent Automation (IA) value chain.

What are some common RPA use cases?

Automating repetitive business processes is an everyday use of RPA across industries. These applications often use screen scraping and other automation techniques to move data from one application or system to another or act. Since RPA is used mainly for tedious, manual tasks, it is often used in roles, functions, and business units that spend a lot of time on them. As a result of RPA, the insurance, banking, and healthcare sectors have been able to:

  • Enhance employee and customer experiences while reducing costs.
  • Streamline the onboarding process for new customers.
  • Extraction, entry, and processing of data across applications, documents, and images can be automated.
  • Enhance process accuracy and compliance.

Automating repetitive tasks with RPA can free up employees’ time to work on more value-enhancing tasks in organizations where employees perform a high volume of repeatable tasks.

 Some additional examples of RPA use cases include:

  • Manual data entry and manipulation (e.g., CRM updates)
  • Employee or partner onboarding 
  • Reporting and data aggregation
  • Document generation
  • Payroll processing 
  • User configurations
  • Invoice and payment processing
  • Order processing and shipping notifications
  • Resume and candidate verification
  • Expense management
  • Loan, claims, and appeals processes
  • Inventory and supply management

What are the top RPA tools?

Automation tools are a mix of newly developed and older tools that have been enhanced with new features. BPM tools were initially used for business process management. According to Forrester Research, RPA software is expected to grow to $6.5 billion by 2025 from $2.4 billion in 2021. Some vendors call their tools “workflow automation” or “work process management.”
The following are some of the top RPA tool vendors:

  • Appian
  • The Automation Anywhere program
  • Automated Edge
  • Blue Prism, Inc.
  • Robotics by Cyclone
  • Informatics
  • EdgeVerve Technologies
  • Help Systems, Inc.
  • International Business Machines
  • Kofax
  • Kryon
  • Laiye
  • MS
  • NICE
  • Nintex
  • NTT-AT
  • Pegasus Systems
  • SDS from Samsung
  • A service tracker
  • FusionWorks

RPA tools: what are the criteria for choosing them?

RPA tools should be selected based on ten key factors:

  • Ease of bot setup
  • Low-code capabilities
  • Attended vs. unattended
  • Machine learning capabilities
  • Exception handling and human review
  • Integration with enterprise applications
  • Orchestration and administration
  • Cloud bots
  • Process and task discovery and mining
  • Scalability

What are the top RPA certifications?

Organizations increasingly adopt RPA and need individuals with experience in RPA tools and implementations. Several vendors offer RPA certifications, including:

  • Appian
  • Automation Anywhere
  • Blue Prism
  • UiPath
  • Microsoft

Ten tips for effective robotic process automation

Due to the complexity of legacy business processes and the need for change management, RPA can be challenging to implement. You can help your organization along the way by following these tips:

1. Set and manage expectations

RPA can quickly win, but scaling it to run at scale is another story. RPA hiccups are often caused by poor expectations management. Vendors and implementation consultants have made bold claims. Therefore, CIOs must adopt a cautiously optimistic mindset.

2. Consider the business impact

It is often claimed that RPA increases ROI or reduces costs. Customer experience can also be improved using it. Airline companies employ thousands of customer service agents, yet customers still have to wait in line for their call to be answered. It may be possible to alleviate some of those remains with a chatbot.

3. Involve IT early and often.

Among the earliest adopters of RPA were COOs. When they implement RPA, they often hit a wall, requiring IT’s help (and forgiveness). “Citizen developers” are now implementing RPA within their business units using cloud software. Often, the CIO steps in to block them. IT must be involved from the start of the project if business leaders are to ensure they get the resources they need.

4. Poor design and change management can wreak havoc.

Sanjay Srivastava, a chief digital officer at Genpact, says many implementations fail due to poor design and change management. Many companies overlook communication exchanges between bots during the deployment process, which can cause a business process to break down. According to Srivastava, you must design an operating model before implementing it. “Consider how the various bots will interact.” Some CIOs need to negotiate the impact new operations will have on their business processes. To avoid business disruption, CIOs need to plan well in advance.

5. Stay in the data rabbit hole.

Using bots to automate manual data entry or monitor software operations generates massive data. This can tempt CIOs and their peers to leverage data in unfortunate ways. According to Srivastava, companies often run machine learning on their bots’ data, then place a chatbot on the front to allow users to query it more easily. RPA has suddenly become an ML project that needs to be scoped adequately. It’s hard for CIOs to keep up with “the puck keeps moving,” Srivastava says. He recommends CIOs consider RPA as a long-term arc instead of piecemeal projects that turn unwieldy over time.

6. Project governance is paramount.

RPA also has the problem of failing to anticipate roadblocks, according to Srivastava. There was a change in password policy at a Genpact client, but no one programmed the bots to adjust, and data was lost. CIOs must constantly monitor their RPA solution for chokepoints to ensure hiccups do not impact performance. According to Srivastava, you can’t just let them run loose and let them run wild.

7. Control maintains compliance

Initiating one bot, let alone thousands comes with many governance challenges. Deloitte’s clients spent several meetings determining whether their bot was male or female, a valid gender question.

8. Build an RPA center of excellence.

To make efficiency programs a success within an organization, RPA implementations should include a center of excellence. It is only feasible for some enterprises, however. A center of excellence in RPA develops business cases, calculates potential cost optimization and ROI, and measures progress.

9. Remember the impact on people.

When organizations are so focused on implementing new solutions that they need to involve HR, the result can be nightmare scenarios for employees who find their daily processes and workflows disrupted.

10. RPA should be incorporated into all phases of development

If CIOs fail to automate the entire development lifecycle, their bots may die during a significant launch. Srivastava explains that there is no magic bullet to implementing RPA, but enterprises must adopt an intelligent automation ethos over the long term. “Automation must answer all the ifs, then, and whats to complete business processes faster, with greater quality, and at scale,” Srivastava says.

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